Monday, 29 November 2010

Trevor and the Dragon - Part 2


Just moments later the archers flew around the corner and were met with a terrible sight. On the ground, covered in blood, mud and cow dung, lay a small boy. He was groaning pitifully, and the archers saw immediately the trail that led away from the boy and into the woods.
‘Dragon prints,’ said the archer called John of the Dale.
Their captain, Thomas Hook, traced the claw-footed prints towards the woods. ‘Follow,’ he said, and then he crouched by the small boy as his men ran off.
‘Dragon,’ groaned the boy. Hook had seen some scruffy-looking boys in his time – in the countryside in winter it was rare to see anyone looking clean – but this boy was by far the scruffiest he had ever seen. He was dressed almost in rags and wore a most unusual pendant – a featureless block of wood tied around his neck on a length of twine.
Hook picked up the groaning boy – noting with some surprise that he was remarkably heavy, despite his small size – and carried him back into the cow shed and lay him on a bed of hay.
‘Stay there, lad, I’ll send someone to help you,’ he said. The boy nodded, moaning.
Hook ran out of the barn, and after his men, wondering briefly as he went how a boy so scruffy and ill-kept could afford a pair of wooden spectacles.
He had not gone a hundred yards before he met them coming back the other way. ‘Tracks stop, captain, just over the hill,’ said John of the Dale. He added, with a perplexed expression. ‘There’s footprints coming back, captain, but...’
‘But what, lad? Spit it out.’
‘They ain’t dragon prints, captain. They’re a child’s footprints.’
By the time they ran back to the barn the small boy had gone.


Anyone watching closely would have seen a pair of small footprints appear in the mud outside the cow shed. Knights, however, are large, loud and permanently angry, and not by nature observant. And these particular knights, faced with the unenviable task of facing a very large, very angry dragon, had been drinking mead and cider all day long, and were less observant than most. The small footprints stamped themselves into the thick mud in a most truculent way (if invisible feet can said to be truculent) and then after half a dozen steps transformed into large, lizard claw imprints, which promptly accelerated over the fields at a speed which was, as anyone with any common sense whatsoever would have observed, quite impossibly fast.


The bare branches of the dank forest swayed, though there was not a breath of wind, and then, quite suddenly Trevor appeared out of thin air, half way up a tree. Trevor jammed himself firmly in the branches, and slipped on his spectacles. He transformed into the small, horribly mucky boy who the soldiers mistakenly believed they had rescued from the dragon.
‘Chunk?’ Trevor lifted his shirt and wiped the blood from his chest. The arrow, which would have gone right through a normal boy’s body like a hot knife through butter, had merely nicked Trevor’s almost indestructible hide. ‘Chunk? Wake up!’ he grabbed the wooden block in both hands and shook it. ‘Wake up! I need you!’
The Chunk made a loud choking, rattling noise and then fell silent.
‘Wake UP!’ Trevor roared, and then looked around warily at the creaking branches surrounding him. ‘Listen Chunk,’ he continued in a whisper, ‘those soldiers, they’re Dragon Rouge. I saw them. They had the sigil on their chests! They’ve followed me, Chunk! They’ve follow me from Mab!’
‘I blinking known all that, you wooden-headed, leaf-brained—‘
But the Chunk did not seem to hear Trevor. ‘THE IMMORTAL KING AEOSON, FATHER OF JASON OF ARGO – argon is a chemical element represented by the symbol AR, and is widely used to feed cats on the planet Falemachorus - IS LEADER OF THE DRAGON ROUGE – rouge – red – red, red was the farmer’s wife’s bottom - BELIEVED TO BE OVER TWELVE THOUSAND YEARS OLD AEOSON, ALSO KNOW AS MR VIM – vim cleans as it sweeps as it cares, buy vim at your local supermarket now - PROFESSOR SIDNEY SILEX AND JANGLE MUMBLES THE GUITAR – swingin’ little guitar – MAN IS NOW BASED ON THE LEGENDARY PLANET MAB – oh planets red and stars of grey oh burning amber space fiends—‘
Chunk vibrated suddenly like a dying animal, and then croaked two words:
The Chunk fell silent, and though Trevor shook it, screeched at it and bashed it against the tree trunk, the wooden machine was dead and silent.
‘Marvelous!’ spat Trevor. He pulled off his spectacles, and without a downward glance he ran across the treetops, following his nose.


It had taken Trevor almost five years to create the Chunk, though, in truth, he could have created the wooden machines much faster. He and Dr Arcania had been employed by the Dragon Rouge to create weaponry on the planet Mab, a mysterious world full of mythic creatures such as unicorns, Stympalian Birds and Kraken. Machines did not work on Mab, anything mechanical or computerised simply disintegrated, and Trevor and Dr Lambton Arcania were forced to use steam power and, eventually, to adapt the planets peculiar living trees into computers. Chunks were much more advanced than any computer in history, but their wooden parts made them extremely fragile, but Trevor had come up with a unique solution to this. Chunks would repair themselves when planted in the earth, and, in an emergency, could be planted in manure and would regenerate their broken parts almost immediately.
But, part of the reason why Trevor had ended up in a small dirty village in a small, dirty England, in the dirty Dark Ages was that when he should have been secretly working on the Chunk under the nose of the Dragon Rouge, he had, in fact, secretly been working on a sub-space portal which fitted in his pocket and teleported an endless supply of chocolate bars from the legendary Kissing Cow Chocolate Factory in the Bleak Republic.
And so it was that Trevor almost choked to death on a large piece of chocolate when the small boy popped up from behind the large heap of dragon dung on which he was sitting.


‘You!’ Trevor felt a lump of chocolate that felt like a chunk of brick lodge in his throat. ‘What are you doing here!’
Trevor made a strangulated choking noise and spat out a large chunk of chocolate. ‘Bloody Nora!’ he gasped. ‘Are you barmy, you whey-faced chimp?’
Trevor found himself looking at a wide puzzled face beneath a curl of yellow hair. ‘Chimp?’ said the broad shouldered boy. ‘What is a chimp?’
Trevor goggled at the boy. He was dressed in a dirty jerkin that might of once been white but was so thick in sweat, dirt, blood and dung that it had turned an oddly colourless green-brown. But that, Trevor reckoned, was probably par for the course on this filthy planet – what was surprising about the boy was that his body was criss-crossed with thick leather belts, and the belts were strung with swords, knives and short handled lances.
‘It doesn’t matter what a chimp is,’ the boy snapped anxiously before Trevor could reply. ‘You must leave here now!’
‘Eh?’ Trevor frowned at the boy. ‘I ain’t going nowhere chuckles.’ He shoved his chocolate back into his pocket, and glanced down at the wooden edge of the chunk that was sticking out of the manure pile, stood up and pushed it out of sight under his foot. ‘Who are you, king of Vir? I was here first, chimp face, and I’m not going nowhere!’ Trevor blew a loud raspberry just in case the boy didn’t get the message.
‘Listen to me,’ he whispered urgently, ‘I am Bob, squire of Sir David Hylton, and if he should find—‘
‘What is this?’ interrupted a loud, strident voice. ‘What is this peasant doing here, squire? Does he not know that this is the haunt of the dread demons dragon? Or,’ there was the snickt sound of steel drawn on steel, and suddenly Trevor found the blade of a sword under his chin, ‘is this serf under their control perhaps?’

To be continued...

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